Sunday, July 27, 2008

Extreme Parenting

Sandy Hands by gina.blank

I am home from my five-day, four-night respite adventure with my girlies. I had a ton of fun, and would totally do it again for N&S the next time they go out of town. That being said, it has been nice to sleep in today, to take it slow, to enjoy the quiet space that is my home. The week has ensured me that I will be an effective mother one day (not that I had any significant doubts, but being a mom and being an early childhood educator are not the same thing), and has also encouraged me to appreciate being child-free just a little bit longer.

It was interesting to serve a role as a parent this week. Working with children in a play-based educational setting, I know what's expected of me. Most of the time, I know what I need to carry out in the time I am spending with that child (usually a three-hour block). I know how to make the time I work with children meaningful, productive, and fun. But spending 24 hours a day with children is another story all together. I know I am expected to take care of all the basic needs, ensure safety and well-being, and have fun with them, but more often I wondered so many things. Am I letting them watch too much TV? How much should I let S play on her own, and how much should I be setting up activities to do with her? How much one-on-one does P need when she's not in her therapy time? Do they think it's boring when I have to go down and do laundry? Do they think I'm in their face too much?

I ended up presuming that I balanced everything out all right, because they were still happy by the last day, and still wanted to be around me. As you can see from the photos, we were definitely active! All I wanted to be sure of was that Aunty Gina would still rock by the end of the week, and I think I managed to succeed in reaching that goal.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Halfway Point

I am halfway through my respite stint with my girlies; utterly exhausted, but still having a good time. The grandma offered to do the overnight with P tonight so that I could get a good night sleep, and as I thought about this throughout the day, the more it sounded like a good idea. So after I am done catching up on e-mail, Facebook, blog, etc., I will be getting into PJs and cozying under a blanket with a book until my eyes cross; then I shall sleep like I have never slept before!

I have always known that families appreciate the care their respite providers put in. When I tidy the kitchen, or bathe the girls, I am always thinking, "they've had such a busy day; I know they will appreciate this." Now, being on the other side, I know it that much more intensely!

The girls are still happy, even if they are slightly off-schedule sleep-wise, food-wise, etc. Today, S and I took a special car ride to my place to visit my cats and water the plants (and for me to make sure the place was still cool--it's been warm out). My cats are now well-fed, well-cuddled, and slightly traumatized. They're not that overly fond of children. Princess puts up with it; Akira hides out under the bed and hisses at all passers by, child or not. I am hoping the copious amount of soft food I left them will make up for it.

Tomorrow, assuming my sleep is restful, I will be taking the girls--by myself--to the nearest wading pool-equipped playground. If I'm still feeling not-so-energetic, the playground across the street from their house will suffice. And Saturday, the other aide will be coming and we will go to Millennium Place! Woo-hoo, swimming! This will be a good end to the week, I think.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Into the Night

Well, I am currently winding down the first day of my 5-day babysitting stint. We picked raspberries, played in the rec room, and went to the park. They both ate well, and I stayed on top of the meds and toothbrushing. Both girls went to bed without a problem, and everything's clean, calm, and quiet... for now. P is in a hair-pulling phase, and has already woken herself up twice, despite wearing "mittens", but she is easily put back to sleep with a sip of bottle and her soother. She's quiet when she does this, though, so I don't know if I'll catch it all the time if she pulls her hair in throughout the night. But we'll see, I guess. Fortunately, I know where the coffee maker is and how to use it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Bicycle Built for Me

It has been absolutely gorgeous out this weekend, so I've been doing a lot of biking. Today, I biked down to the south side (about an hour) to check on my friends' cats one more time before they returned home from BC. Then I biked to the University area (about 40 minutes) to have supper and join Bible study with another friend. Then of course, I had to bike home (about an hour).

On my way to friend #2, I stopped at United Cycle and picked up a holster for my bike lock. The fastening clip on my old holster had rusted off ages ago, and I had been putting my U-lock into my bike's carrying pack ever since. But I was getting tired of doing that, and the store was on the way to where I was going, so I picked one up. EZ Install, it said. Yeah, "EZ Install" my butt. Every single piece was stiff to move and put together. Like those thin lego pieces that just don't come apart. Only worse. Lift here and strap will slide through. 'Lift' actually means "reef on it". Slide piece A into piece B and fasten. 'Slide' actually means "jam it in as hard as you can." And I had absolutely no leverage, since I was fastening this thing to the frame of my bike; just a metal tube. Plus I had to make sure everything was angled properly so I can yank the lock out when needed, without getting it in the way of my water bottle, but without getting it in the way of my legs, either. The thing took an hour to attach to my bike. ...So it's on. But what a hassle.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Any Song is Worship?

So, I was loading up my iPod with songs for a bike ride this afternoon, and I was trying to decide if I felt like Christian music or secular (I went with secular in the end, but that's beside the point). As I was pondering this, I remembered something interesting from high school.

In my high school, we had a lunch-hour youth group kind of thing. I only participated when I was in grade ten, and I only remember two of the get-togethers. One was ice blocking (also beside the point), and the other was listening to secular music from a Christian perspective.

I remember we listened to "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, which talks about a guy who's pretty much stalking his ex. Except we were told to listen to it as if it was God speaking to US, and I remember thinking that was kind of cool (feel free to check out the lyrics).

So that memory went through my mind this afternoon as I was choosing between Christian and secular, and starting to wonder if it really mattered.

Now clearly, there are songs out there that can't be viewed from any sort of Christian perspective; and I'm not simply talking about garbage types of songs. There are just some that tell a very specific story and can't be viewed from another perspective... like the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," for instance.

But that still leaves a lot of other songs. In fact, Stephen Curtis Chapman took the one-hit wonder 500 Miles and turned it into a praise song (although he replaced the line "when I get drunk..." with different lyrics).

I think there are so many songs that could be re-framed. That could shift your perspective on your mid-day drive while you are stuck in traffic. That could offer up a new form of praise. That could alter your presumptions about what love really looks like.

Jumping into the Learning Curve

After having a Geocities website for years that just seems to be "outdated" all around, I figured it was time to enter the world of blogging. I'm not sure how this will go. I have the same feeling I had when I was deciding to make the jump from a film camera to digital. I loved my film camera. But once I made the switch, I never looked back. I'm hoping this will be the same.

I will slowly be downsizing my website as I get rid of what's irrelevant, find a bloggy type place for stuff I still want to share with people, and generally figure things out. So you can check it out at:

It will be there for a while. But now this is here, too.